Boris Fishman - "Don't Let My Baby Do Rodeo" - S.L. Wisenberg

Boris Fishman disusses his novel, "Don't Let My Baby Do Rodeo" He will be joined in conversation by S.L. Wisenberg.

Presented in partnership with CEERES

At KAM Isaiah Israel / 5039 South Greenwood Ave.

Saturday, March 25 at 7 PM - 9 PM


About the book: Maya Shulman and Alex Rubin met in 1992, when she was a Ukrainian exchange student with “a devil in [her] head” about becoming a chef instead of a medical worker, and he the coddled son of Russian immigrants wanting to toe the water of a less predictable life.


Twenty years later, Maya Rubin is a medical worker in suburban New Jersey, and Alex his father’s second in the family business. The great dislocation of their lives is their eight-year-old son Max — adopted from two teenagers in Montana despite Alex’s view that “adopted children are second-class.”


At once a salvation and a mystery to his parents — with whom Max’s biological mother left the child with the cryptic exhortation “don’t let my baby do rodeo” — Max suddenly turns feral, consorting with wild animals, eating grass, and running away to sit face down in a river.


Searching for answers, Maya convinces Alex to embark on a cross-country trip to Montana to track down Max’s birth parents — the first drive west of New Jersey of their American lives. But it’s Maya who’s illuminated by the journey, her own erstwhile wildness summoned for a reckoning by the unsparing landscape, with seismic consequences for herself and her family.


"Don’t Let My Baby Do Rodeo" is a novel about the mystery of inheritance and what exactly it means to belong.


About the author: Boris Fishman was born in Belarus and has lived in the United States since the age of nine. He is the author of the novel "A Replacement Life," which was chosen as a "New York Times" Notable Book of the Year and a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Selection, and won the Sophie Brody Medal from the American Library Association and the VCU Cabell First Novelist Award. His writing has appeared in "The New Yorker," "The New York Times Magazine," "The Wall Street Journal," "The London Review of Books," "The New Republic," and other publications. He lives in New York City. "Don't Let My Baby Do Rodeo" is his second novel.


About the interlocutor: S.L. Wisenberg is the author of a short-story collection, "The Sweetheart Is In"; an essay collection, "Holocaust Girls: History, Memory & Other Obsessions"; and a "virtuosic, poignant" (--Salon) nonfiction chronicle, "The Adventures of Cancer Bitch." That book grew out of her blog "Cancer Bitch." She is at work on a creative nonfiction book about the South. Her work has appeared in many anthologies, including "Neurotica: Jewish Writers on Sex"; "Brief Encounters: A Collection of Contemporary Nonfiction"; "When Night Fell: An Anthology of Holocaust Short Stories," as well as in the "Chicago Reader," "the Forward," "Tablet," "Tikkun," "Lilith," and dozens of literary magazines. Her maternal grandmother was born in Slutsk, Belarus. She teaches writing in the MA/MFA Program in Creative Writing at Northwestern University and at the University of Chicago Graham School.